The Oregon Historical Society (OHS) and Newspace Center for Photography are proud to present UNEARTHED, an exhibition of hand colored lantern slides of Portland gardens from ca. 1920 – 1935. These images, all drawn from the OHS permanent collection, were created by George C. Stephenson (1866-1940) on behalf of the Portland Garden Club (PGC). Following the First World War an effort was made to record the beautiful yet quickly disappearing estate gardens in and around Portland. Stephenson, identified in his 1940 obituary as the official photographer of the PGC, created hundreds of slides locally – many of which document the famed Portland gardens of the time, including the Kerr brothers’ gardens and the Frank Estate (now Lewis and Clark College). The images document important gardens, their features, and plants and were part of a joint project spearheaded by the Garden Club of America. All the slides were then colored by hand, taking great pains to accurately record the color palette of each garden or plant subject. The presentation of these slides embodies the ways in which archival image collections of this kind function over time—acting as a focal point out of which we learn about what has been, and from which we can reflect on our present times.
In addition to the public programs the exhibition will include prints of select images, as well as the display of the slides themselves.